Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in The Academy Online

From Midtown parent, Julianna Osuna.

One of the many things we appreciate about The Academy is the way it transmits key values from the school room into the most real parts of our life. The mission of the school, shaping affections for truth, goodness and beauty, has been a welcome lens for us as we walk through a very difficult year. It has reminded us to be courageous about truth, while at the same time, to keep our eyes focused on what is good and beautiful.

Here is what is true for us. Our family is one of The Academy’s TAO (The Academy Online) families. Three generations in our family have genetic lung complications. This puts us into the “vulnerable” category for COVID that we hear about in the news. In August, as school approached, we met with all of our doctors and received their unanimous recommendations that being on campus for school was too great a risk for our family. I know I will never forget sitting with my junior daughter, laying out the facts that we had gathered, and holding her as she, and her dad and I all cried over the decision to move to The Academy’s Online option. It’s hard to put into words how isolating we have found the experience of COVID. It’s challenging for us to be on the outside looking in, as we watch friends returning to school and jobs. The more life returns to “normal” outside our home, the more our options have become limited as we wait for better treatments and a vaccine to be discovered.

Yet, while we acknowledge the true challenge of this time, we also experience goodness. One of the greatest “goods” for us in this time has been The Academy’s commitment to serve all families in the school, including those who cannot join in person. Like watching a magician performing unbelievable magic, we witnessed the Academy create a third platform for school, the TAO option, something that had not even been imagined a year ago, made real in the span of a few months. Technology we had not even heard of was located, purchased and installed. Now our girls join virtually with all of their classes, life-size pictures of them on the screens of special Zoom TVs mounted in their classrooms. Teachers have leaned into this process, creatively brainstorming ways to mesh online and in-person students, ensuring that TAO students have as true an experience of school as their in-person peers. We have had a principal show up at our house with encouraging treats and have seen quick responses from other administrators at The Academy whenever we have questions about the process. Truly we have seen goodness even as we wait, physically separate from the campuses.

During this season we have also experienced beauty, blessings incarnated in the sacrificial presence of friends and family. We have watched, with joy and consternation, as families in our church community have made the decision to limit their collective choices over the last eight months so that they can be present with our family on a daily basis. Our friends have played and eaten and watched movies with us outside in the cool of the Oklahoma Spring and the heat of the summer. Rhetoric students have shown up in masks at our house, bringing ice cream and friends for an impromptu hangout. Middle schoolers have donned their own masks to be near our youngest daughter, wandering cross country events together and cooking s’mores around a campfire. The creative ways our community has intentionally joined with us have truly been beautiful to behold, the actual and real presence of Christ’s body here on earth, with us as we we wait out this COVID season and look forward to being present in person with all of you again.